Growing up in the late ’90s and early ’00s meant being exposed to some of the greatest examples of bad metal. Like, genuinely really bad metal. Some of it was great though, of course. Everyone loved it at the time too, or so one would think, given the absurd amount…
We’re at a point where a hot shit, flavour of the month band can become old hat moments after they are touted as the next big thing. It’s so easy to lose track of who’s who, what’s hot and not and generally what the hell is happening in music and it’s always gonna be impossible to hear everything good out there. That’s where Heavy Blog, and others like us, come in. We have our core features focusing on specific genres—what’s up Grind My Gears fans?!—but today I’m lumping together bands who’s only similarity is their shared suffix. They’re all “core” in some form or another. To make things more digestible, I’ve even added a strapline for each, covering their sound in one fantastically humorous sentence. Please, enjoy and rock responsibly.
Linkin Park are pop now. With their last three tracks – “Heavy,’’ “Battle Symphony’’ and “Good Goodbye’’ – they are one step closer to becoming an all-out boyband. Even for a band who are hated by a significant portion of metal circles, the new tracks have incurred the wrath and mockery of haters and fans alike. But it’s not that much of a grand departure either; Linkin Park has always been rooted in pop music to an extent. When they arrived on the scene during the apex of nu-metal, they brought a polished shine to the genre that was much more accessible than that of their peers. Hybrid Theory was a groundbreaking album in many ways, but it lacked the abrasiveness of Limp Bizkit and Korn records, offering a squeaky clean alternative to many of their peers. While pop elements can be found in the music of most popular nu-metal bands from the genre’s heyday, Linkin Park embraced them more on a grander scale from the get go.
Limp Bizkit are far from the most unanimously loved band to ever grace the metal spectrum. Often derided as abrasive and angst-ridden rap metal for beer-swilling frat boys, it’s perfectly understandable why they’ve never found acclaim among the purists. However, there was a time when they were inescapable commercial juggernauts with a tendency to make headlines for the wrong reasons, as well as poster boys for the much maligned nu-metal subgenre.
When analyzing art, it is important to keep both the artist’s experience in creating the art and the experience of the consumer absorbing the art in mind. Often times, an artist’s vision can be obscured by our view point and we can lose sight of what was meant to be gained from the experience. On the other side, regardless of what an artist’s intent may be, the consumer has every right to like or dislike something based on their own personal preference. There’s even the possibility that you can completely understand where the creator of art is coming from and appreciate their intent and artistic integrity, but think that the art itself isn’t something remotely enjoyable. In this middle ground of understanding and distaste for what is understood, we find the new self-titled Suicide Silence album nestled quite comfortably.
This post probably seems way out of place among the many pieces I’ve written for Heavy Blog. But for anyone that knows me, bands like Emmure comprised the bulk of my high school listening, and I threw down hard during their set at Warped Tour 2010. That same year marked the peak of my adoration for “-core” music, though, as I started gravitating more towards the old school metal bands that my friend Mark would show me during lunch. My iPod started filling up with songs like “Dead but Dreaming” by Deicide rather than “Dead but Dreaming” by Carnifex, and before I knew it, I was another metal elitist scoffing at the very thought that Emmure used to be one of my favorite bands. Thankfully, I’ve matured quite a bit since then; not to the point where I’d write an “In Defense Of” post for Emmure, but enough to ignore any news updates about the band rather than leaving an unproductive shitpost in the comments section (“lol, binary code metal, amirite???”). And as I saw updates on their latest album Look at Yourself, it made me reminisce about my old listening habits and prompted me to revisit what used to be my favorite record of theirs: Felony. The result was the following nostalgia-ridden Stepping Stone for a band I view as both one of the worst and most important bands that defined the trajectory of my growth as a metal fan. It was my full intention going into this to be as objective and honest as possible, and I hope this will read as a fair critique of one of metal’s most polarizing bands.
Linkin Park exploded onto the scene in 2000 with Hybrid Theory, an album which would become a hit of monolithic proportions as it enjoyed enormous commercial success, and a fair amount of critical success to go with it. Their 2003 follow-up Meteora continued in much the same vein, and was also received reasonably well. However, 2007’s Minutes to Midnight marked a significant turning point for the band and for its fans. In a move which sparked a significant backlash among their fans, the band moved on from their nu-metal roots and adopted a more experimental, alternative rock sound. Fans cried of how the band had sold out, abandoned their roots and gone soft, whilst music journalists branded it bland and a failed U2 rip-off. That being said, it’s now time to begin our defense of Linkin Park’s most underrated album.
With the recent release of the new Issues album Headspace, I think now is as good a time as any to contend with something that’s sat with me for years. In 2014, our beloved creator Jimmy posted a review for their self-titled debut. I encourage you to read his full thoughts on the album, but if you want the long story short, he wasn’t a fan of it due to bad production choices, banal lyrics and lack of strong songwriting. He gave it a 1.5/5, even going so far as to accuse the record of being “cringe-inducing.” Jimmy’s review has haunted me on and off ever since he posted it, as the record was my 2014 album of the year, so I think it’s time that I got into Issues’ corner to defend its honor by addressing some of Jimmy’s gripes while throwing in my own points of positivity.
Welcome to Stepping Stone: a new column focusing on the metal albums of our yesteryears. Music is very much a proverbial road traveled, and sometimes, years later, we look back at what we used to listen to and realize how much we’ve changed as individuals. Essentially, Stepping Stone is broken…
With the possible exception of crunkcore and whatever you call the music that the neo-goth kids at Hot Topic are listening to, nu-metal is perhaps the most divisive genre in metal (if you even consider it to be metal in the first place). Nowadays, the names Korn, Slipknot, Disturbed, Linkin Park, Godsmack and the dreaded Limp Bizkit are often followed with some sort of insult or derogatory humor in the metal world. Even us at Heavy Blog are guilty of this, to the point that we’ve made Evanescence’s “Bring Me To Life” into a meme in our own circles. Nu-metal is, at best, a joke in the minds of modern “TR00” metal fans.